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The following conversation was recently overheard between two saplings standing side-by-side in a tree nursery just west of Chicago.
SWAMP WHITE OAK SAPLING Quercus bicolor (hysterical): Quick! Droop your branches! Wilt your leaves! Stoop, man, stoop!
LITTLELEAF LINDEN SAPLING Tilia cordata (looking around): Whuzup? Who's comin'?
OAK (stage whisper): Hear them footsteps? It's the Oak Park forester. He's taggin' trees! You don't wanna end up one o' his street trees.
LINDEN (straightening): Why, I'd be honored to set down roots in …
OAK (rustling): Naw ya wouldn't! C'mon, look sick!
LINDEN (holding limb over heart): Tree City USA, Hemingway, Wright, all things liberal? Why not there?
OAK (hissing): Cause they butcher their trees!
LINDEN (shrinking): Oh, yeah, I mighta heard that.
OAK: Sure. Back in 2000 this same forester guy hired a low-bid contractor with no experience to prune Oak Park's urban forest.
LINDEN: It's comin' back to me.
OAK: Tree-by-tree, block-by-block the contractor hacked off branches 20 and more feet above the street. Mature trees, too!
LINDEN: Ain't national pruning standards like 15 feet, tops?
OAK: Correct. Still, they cut a swath from Austin to past Oak Park Avenue, Madison to the Green Line till they were stopped. Residents ponied up a study by a past president of the state's Arborist Association, who called the pruning "too severe." And get this: the village even paid another arborist (internationally known) to give lessons to the contractor's pruners.
LINDEN: You mean after the fact?
OAK: Precisely. Lots played out in the local papers, including the Tribune. Google: Citizens Tree Rescue. It's all there. Even the guy's study. And this season they're at it again. After years of following the rules. Whackin' helpless street trees.
LINDEN: Who is?
OAK: Either the forester hired another lousy contractor or it's the village crews. Y'never know with this guy. Why, he's even convinced the town to plant less trees.
LINDEN (aghast): What? Ain't he heard of global warmin'?
OAK (panicked): Look out! Here he comes! Drop your leaves! Pretend you're dead! Trust me! You don't wanna go there!
Oak Park resident
Answer Book 2016
To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2016 Answer Book, please click here.
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